Two new cultural analysis tools were on display at the recent GEOINT conference in San Antonio. Both programs rely heavily on maps and geography. Professional geographers and cartographers take note!
ISEBOX (described in a write-up here) or “Integrated Socio-Cultural Environment for Behavior Observation Exploitation” is from the HumanGeo Company.
ISEBOX identifies friendly forces, trends, geo-political activity, and threat indicators to provide operations planners with critical access to data required to perform Intelligence Preparation of the Battlefield (IPB). ISEBOX uses variable precision data encodings of location to facilitate non-obvious pattern detection and predictive analysis in the geospatial domain.
Despite the promotional lingo, there’s some interesting ideas here. Basically they appear to be very aware that using predefined units of spatial analysis is weaker than letting the data define the area of concern. Or, cartographically: avoid choropleth maps and embrace continuously varying surfaces (known to anthropologists as “clines”). They explicitly cite the well-known (to geographers modifiable areal unit problem (MAUP). Or use dasymetric and combo vector and raster data of varying resolution. Be nice to get a test run on this, should it ever be made available outside the IC.
AnthroMapper, from GeoEye, was also on display at GEOINT 2011 (for some reason I can’t find any online information about it yet. It might be part of their acquisition of Spadac? Eg see their Signature Analyst software which looks similar to what I saw. This is just a guess though). AnthroMapper, according to the GeoEye rep is supposed to go beyond just being another GIS giving the “tribal overlay” but at this time I have few details.